Episode 63 (podcast) Vision and Innovation in Venture Capital

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‘You don’t have to be a genius to succeed in business.’ But what does it take instead? In this episode of The Yield, Peter Kerr joins with David Kronfeld for a conversation about the venture capital industry and the latest ongoings related to investing in the software, IT, and communications markets. David is an experienced venture capital investor and telecommunications industry executive with more than 40 years of experience. He founded JK&B Capital in 1996 and prior to that, was a general partner at Boston Capital Ventures (BCV), where he focused on making venture capital investments in companies within the communications and software industries.

This episode is filled with potentially life-changing career advice from the well-known grandfather of venture capitalism’ David Kronfeld. He starts out by highlighting the reasons that simply not failing is not enough to succeed. It’s not just enough to get in the game and have the opportunity, you have to figure out how to win the game. According to David, ‘you don’t have to be a genius to succeed in business.’ There is absolutely value and potential payoff that comes with earning an MBA, but that is separate from the ability to do well and the probability of doing well.

And while the education learned from an MBA program can be replicated elsewhere, David argues that the skills that are learned in an academic environment and the doors that are opened through the connections that are made while in business school can be much harder to find in other avenues.

But it doesn’t take an MBA to be successful. The insights from David’s book can apply across any industry. The three main keys that his book focuses on are, first, the ability to become more visible in your field, second, how to improve your ability to evaluate situations and offer recommendations, and third, to generate more insightful and advanced analyses. Combined, these three keys can hold the power to generate the right analysis and the right recommendation, regardless of the problem, challenge, or opportunity.

David was an immigrant to the United States who did not speak English and initially felt that he didn’t have an advantage because of his networking or interpersonal communication skills. So how did he advance to become the experienced and connected businessman that he is today? His advantage came as he focused on influencing not only individuals but outcomes. There are three dimensions of influence — influencing individuals, influencing outcomes, and having the competency to be able to influence them in the right direction. Of course, none of these mean stabbing someone in the back or doing anything that might come back to bite you in the future, but with a little more awareness and insight, there are ways to gain the benefits that come with influencing the outcome that you want to see.

After reflecting on why he dove into the venture capital world, David offers some insights that all listeners- and all investors- may wish to hear regarding the right way to view their own strengths and weaknesses. According to David, there is no such thing as strengths and weaknesses in absolute terms. Rather, our strengths and weaknesses have the ability to play out in certain scenarios differently. Taking a self-assessment, changing your habits, or refocusing your efforts can only be beneficial when you know which scenario your strengths and weaknesses will be measured in. And this is just one of the insights that is available in David’s book Remarkable: Proven Insights to Accelerate Your Career. To learn more about the insights from this venture capital, tune in to this episode of The Yield today.

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